Recognize Verbals and Verbal Phrases

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This is a form that has been coming to the fore much more in the modern times when  discussing such things as a good book.  People will say that it is a good ‘read’. A ‘verbal’ is a verb form that functions in a sentence as a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.  A ‘verbal phrase’  is a verbal plus any complements and modifiers. Verbals are participles, gerunds, and infinitives. Each of these can be expanded into phrases. A ‘participle’ is a verb form that can function as an adjective.  Present participles always end in –ing (losing). Past participles often end in –ed (winded), but some are irregularly formed (broken). Many commonly used adjectives are actually participles.

“The baseball team is on a ‘losing’ streak.” [present participle ‘losing’ as an adjective]

“The ‘winded runner stopped to rest.” [past participle ‘winded’ as an adjective.]“The ‘fallen’ trees were remnants of a ‘devastating’ storm.” [irregular past participle ‘fallen’ and present participle ‘devastating’ as adjectives]

When a participle is part of a verb phrase, the participle is not functioning as an adjective. As an adjective, “the ‘lost’ package was never r3ecovered.” In a verb phrase, “The warehouse ‘had lost’ my shipment.”

A participial phrase contains a participle plua any complements and modifiers. Participial phrases can be placed in various positions in a sentence. They always act as adjectives. Example: “ ‘Preparing for the lunar eclipse,’ we set our alarm clocks.” A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence is usually followed by a comma. A past participle may be used with the present participle of the auxiliary verb ‘have’ or ‘be’.


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